Video Game Loading Screens: Just Pure Evil

We’ve all been there. Heavy into a video game’s story. Fully engaged by the plot. Totally immersed in the action. Riveted by the dialog. Then it strikes. The loading screen. Some video games cover it up. Some video games throw up a graphic. Some video games do something strange. In every instance its just annoying.

With technological advancements in video game systems comes the ability to do more with a game. With each attempt to do more, however, we find that we are at a loss when we have to face the interminable loading screen. When, oh when, will we find ourselves at a total lack of video game loading screens? Until we do we are forced to sit through the mundane, benign, and often arbitrary attempt to either disguise, mask, or confuse people by the loading screen.

Assassins Creed Loading Screen Fog

Assassins Creed apparently takes place in Cleveland winters

Assassin’s Creed: Behold the Fog

When Assassin’s Creed first came out it was a technological marvel. Yes, yes it was dull, repetitive, lackluster, tedious, long winded, pointless and a little preachy but hot damn was it ever b-e-a-utiful. Touring ancient cities like Jerusalem was a marvel, and they way Altair moved through a crowd reacting to physical elements as if they actually had mass and substance was simply divine. Unless it was the beggar woman. Good god they should have made stabbing her in the neck automatic win. New trophy with ever 15!!

But where the game takes a turn for the worse is the equally dull, repetitive, lackluster, tedious, long, and pointless loading screen. You enter into what can only be truely understood by someone who grew up in the northeast United States. Grey, overcast, looks cold….where’s the snow shovel because it looks like December.

When taken between events in the story the character is taken into this mysterious fog where all they have to is meander aimlessly, maybe play with the weapons a little, or punch at thin air. With all the beauty and wonder of Assassin’s Creed you would think they would have come up with something a little more inventive than…well…nothing.

Mass Effect: No Love in an Elevator

We at Polish the Console love our BioWare. Hell we mention them at least once per post. But where the seem to lack is in their loading screen. I’ll be honest with you. The main reason my relationship with Ashley Williams in Mass Effect never goes anywhere is because quite frankly I’m just too damn lazy to use the elevator. This is the future here people! The elevators should at least be slightly speedy. Don’t know what I mean. Here:

While most people may view this as a showing of Wrex’s masterful conversation skills, I view is as a barage of slow ass elevators. Couldn’t they have at least made it feel like you’re traveling in a super fast future elevator? Something that doesn’t make me think “Stairs and a fire pole could greatly help both speed and efficiency in travel in the future.”

Heavy Rain: Most awkward staring contest ever

Heavy Rain is nothing if not one of the most visually stunning video games to date. The realism expressed by the faces and mannerisms of the characters has yet to be matched. Heavy Rain is on a whole new level in video game graphical capabilities.

What better way to showcase this than to make users stare at screens like ol’ Scott here between events:

Scott! Hey SCOTT!! I’m over here! Look at me Scott. Scott god dammit stop looking around and look me in the eyes! This is both maddening and pretty darn awkward.

I mean it, it’s almost as if the video game is so ashamed of you for not looking half as good as it that it refuses to look at you. Is there something wrong with me? Is it because I haven’t showered yet? This week?

Dragon Age: Origins: Worst Cartographer EVER!

Dragon Age: Origins at least attempts to trick you into thinking its not loading. Well, unless you see the screen at the top of this post. What they do is drip blood on a map as you traverse the desolate expanse between towns. Anyone who has played knows that you spend a lot of time traveling. Always moving, always walking. While they get ready to load the next town, and often cut-scene, you are shown the following map of Ferelden:

Dragon Age: Origins Map Loading Screen

Who keeps dripping blood on the map?

On this map as you move from town to town you are followed by a rather dubious trail of blood. Who keeps dripping this blood? Are they okay? Do they need a doctor? I may have a potion or two I can use to help. Listen, I have an abundance of Injury Kits in my ruck sack. I am not going to use all of them why don’t you have one. If it can cure a gouged eyeball, or cracked skull i’m pretty sure your messy little ailment will be no trouble at all for it. Please? If not can you please stop looking at the map with me? I don’t want to catch what you have.

Devil May Cry 4: Please stop warbling, ma’am

Devil May Cry 4 set a new standard in ridiculous load screens. Anyone who owns a Playstation 3 knows exactly what I mean. You can’t play the video game without installing it. This is supposed to help cut down on load times. What we instead recieve is the most ridiculous load time ever seen in video game history.

If you don’t know what I mean I have a video for you:

Yes you read that time right. Seven…and a half…long….minutes.

At least they tell you the story so far so you’re not totally lost, but still. Seven minutes of loading. This may very well be the longest loading screen I’ve ever seen.

Let us know your favorite/most hated loading screen below. Who knows, you may just win something!

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Posted On
May 19, 2010
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What actually got me about Dragon Age’s cartographer was not so much the constant hemorrhaging, but the inexplicable Family Circus routes to everything, particularly in Denerim. You choose a destination, you see what appears to be a fairly straightforward route there, and then you watch the little blood drip trail zig, zag, cut through old Mrs. Johnston’s yard, run in a circle, and eventually get there. I dunno, maybe Dog saw a squirrel?

As far as loading screens in general go, I love the informative loading screens of Bioware RPGs and Oblivion. I am definitely not one to RTFM, so over time I learn a lot of little tips, tricks, and codex information that I would otherwise have missed. In fact, I’ve felt annoyed a few times because it loaded *too* quickly and I thought “Wait! I was reading that!” And the practice of putting a summary blurb on the screen when you first load? Genius. I can’t tell you how often I’ve loaded an RPG after not playing for a while and spent a while trying to reorient myself as to where I am in the story.

For the most part, though, I don’t feel strongly about loading screens, so when I try to think of my favorites/least favorites, I find I can’t even remember what they were on most games! I do remember Resident Evil’s loading screens, with echoing footsteps slowly approaching the door…then the turn of the knob and squeak of the opening door. What always made survivor horror games infinitely more scary than horror movies was being in the driver’s seat. Where previously you would have yelled “Idiot, don’t go in there!”, now you, personally, had to make that choice and go in there (idiot). So you’d steel your nerves and you’d click the door. And those loading screens just drew that anticipation out more. They were great for effect, if a little dated graphically now.

Though it was actually a screensaver, not a loading screen, I just have to say one of my favorite gimmicks was in Discworld. I was actually quite startled the first time I saw it: I was playing the game and decided to pop down to the store for snacks. As I returned and went to unlock the front door, I was mildly alarmed because I could hear someone inside saying “Hel-LOOO? Anyone there?” After a moment, I realized it was clearly Eric Idle’s voice, and when I opened the door, there was Rincewind, *clink* *clinking* his finger on the glass and pressing his nose up to the TV screen.

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Posted On
May 19, 2010
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Wait wait wait wait wait…..

Games still have manuals?

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Posted On
May 20, 2010
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Well, Kung Fu Panda was a game that told the story while the game was loading. That was good.

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Posted On
Jun 22, 2010
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Ricky Winterborn

I personally hate most loading times between rounds in Team Battle mode in Tekken 6 (played it fully installed at PS3). Usually rounds are over in few seconds and loading times feels too long to keep right touch in the game.

My favorite loading screen is galaga in Ridge Racer Type 4 or no visible loading time at all. (ROM cartridges)

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